Bridgend's Jamie Murphy holds off Bristol's Luke Eves
Bridgend Ravens went down to a clinical but ill-disciplined Bristol as the English side ran out 8-32 winners at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field.
The visitors clinched a bonus point and remain top of Pool 1 and unbeaten in the British & Irish Cup, thanks to tries from Alafoti Fa'Osiliva, George Watkins and two from pacey winger Matt Williams.
Rhys Ward Jones grabbed the late consolation score for the Ravens at the end of a second half that saw referee Kieran Barry hand out four yellow cards.
Bridgend had the better of the opening possession and territory and showed some enterprising play early on but failed to register anything on the scoreboard. As a result of this and somewhat against the run of play, the visitors got the first try of the game when Fa'Osiliva powered his way over the line after a strong driving lineout. Adrian Jarvis converted for the first of his 12 points of the afternoon and suddenly the Ravens found themselves 0-7 down.
Jamie Murphy slotted over a gift of a penalty minutes later to reduce the gap to four points but Jarvis cancelled out his effort and added another three on the half-hour mark. The Ravens' defence showed some great determination minutes later to survive a powerful Bristol drive and ensure that the gap was a manageable 10 points when the half-time whistle arrived.
The gap was distinctly less manageable just seconds into the second period. Bristol scrum half Tom Slater picked up from the base of a ruck and noticed the space on the blind side, accelerating left and presenting the ball to winger Watkins to touchdown in the corner.
The next 10 minutes saw Bridgend pushing to find a way back into the game and forcing Bristol to concede several penalties. Murphy broke through a gap to send a ripple of anticipation through the stand but his support was limited and the Bristol defence soon reorganised to close down the danger. When the resulting scrum broke down, referee Barry lost his patience with the visitors and went to his pocket to send Gaston Cortes to the bin. It was to be the Argentinian's last contribution to the game, as he failed to re-take the field when his 10 minutes were up.
Being reduced to 14 didn't appear to worry the men in red and white as they scored their third try of the match five minutes later. Speedster Williams looked to have aimed for a gap that didn't exist but the winger somehow shrugged his way through and showed a clean pair of heels to cross the whitewash in the corner.
Bristol hooker Rhys Lawrence and Ravens scrum half Tom Habberfield both felt the wrath of the referee with 20 minutes remaining and the extra space again seemed to benefit the English side. The Bristol scrum had looked extremely powerful all afternoon and after winning another against the head, replacement scrum half James Grindal spotted the space that Williams was in and handed him the ball for the winger to secure the bonus point with an exuberant dive in the corner.
Williams would have been forgiven for taking the last 10 minutes easy but when Ravens' winger Luke Morgan sped through a gap and looked certain to score, it was the Bristol number 11 that sprinted from the other side of the pitch to prevent the try.
As the Bridgend forwards worked hard to keep the pressure up, Jack Tovey became the third Bristol player to receive a yellow card but soon afterwards, Ward Jones showed some great skill to restore some pride to the home dressing room.
Bridgend Ravens (3) 8
Try: R Ward Jones Pen: J Murphy
Bristol Rugby (13) 32
Try: A Fa'Osiliva, G Watkins, M Williams 2 Con: A Jarvis 3 Pen: A Jarvis 2
Bridgend Ravens: B Thomas, L Morgan, N Edwards, S Campbell, A Evans, J Murphy, T Habberfield, K Dowding, A James, J Thomas, S O'Rourke, A Jones, A Waite, J Vaughan (c), S Hicks
Subs: C Francis for S O'Rourke (69), G Carpenter for K Dowding (76), L Davies for A Jones (59), A Ellis for A Waite (68), S Winn, R Ward Jones for T Habberfield (74), C Williams for B Thomas (63)
Bristol Rugby: J Tovey, G Watkins, L Eves, B Mosses, M Williams, A Jarvis, T Slater, K Traynor, R Lawrence, G Cortes, B Glynn, G Townson, I Grieve (c), M Mama, A Fa'Osiliva
Subs: T Channon for J Tovey then R Lawrence (59 then 78), M Lilley for K Traynor (69), W Thompson for A Fa'Osiliva then G Cortes (51 then 59), G Biagi for G Townson (57), M Eadie for M Mama (78), J Grindal for T Slater (61), T Roberts for B Mosses (69)
Sin-bin:Bridgend: T Habberfield (60) Bristol: G Cortes (49), R Lawrence (57), J Tovey (78)
A pioneering strength and conditioning programme has been delivered to more than 8000 boys and girls at hub schools throughout Wales this season, helping to develop stronger, more flexible athletes for rugby and other sports.
The last five years have been an emotional rollercoaster on and off the pitch for RGC1404. Promotion to the Principality Premiership was the culmination of five years of hard work and investment in North Wales. WRU TV caught up with prop Joe Simpson, who was one of the first intake of WRU North Wales Academy players in 2010.
Ebbw Vale captain Damien Hudd picked up the biggest accolade of the night at the 11th Principality Premiership Awards Evening held at Principality Stadium, after leading his side to the title for the first time.
Wales U20 captain Tom Phillips and performance psychologist Dr Rich Neil explain why spending three days at Monmouth RFC has further strengthened the togetherness of the squad ahead of the #WorldRugbyU20s
Merthyr were officially crowned champions of the SSE SWALEC Championship at Dowlais on Saturday where captain Andy Powell paid tribute to his side who have earned promotion to the Principality Premiership
WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips hosted the second meeting of the WRU Youth Board last weekend ahead of the Judgement Day IV regional double-header. Tthe board, made up of 15 under-21-year-olds from around Wales, heard presentations from head of participation Ryan Jones, policy and integrity manager Jeremy Rogers and national women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton, with Pro Rugby Wales CEO Mark Davies also on hand to hear the range of views aired.
Skipper Nathan Huish believes it was pure self belief from his side which saw Bedlinog snatch victory from Penallta in the SSE SWALEC Plate final at Principality Stadium, as WRU TV's Liz Jones discovers.
Gareth Llewellyn believes Neath's summer recruitment campaign will allow them to climb out of the Principality Premiership basement in the new season and compete for a place in the top eight after their worst season on record.
Llandovery are aiming to make it three titles in a row in this year's Foster's National 7s being held at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday 28 August. Drovers assistant coach Simon Davies and Lee Rees assess their sides chances